Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can you help?

The Integrated Riot Investigation Team has launched a website asking for help identifying rioters from the June Stanley Cup riot. There are about 40 pictures posted as of now...can you help identify anyone?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting Rid of STUFF

We have lots of stuff. Too much stuff. I've been slowly but surely working my way through our apartment...I haven't posted recently because, well, the changes are small. Little. And I haven't been able to do as many as I'd hoped what with the mysterious illness and all... but I'll be posting some updates soon...mostly because most of my projects are huge will little goals that don't look like much, but end up being massive when they're added together.


Like my current project. J is away with her grandparents for a few days and so I decided to tackle her bedroom and her closet.

That's too big.

So I split her room into four zones and tackled each one of those. Then I decided to go box by box out of the closet. It's working well enough. Although when I left this morning, it looked pretty dismal in her room. The plan for tonight is to get the recycling and garage out to their bins. And then continue sorting. Because I have two partial evenings and one morning to get it done before she gets back. Which is why I did it box by box. So that I should be able to just close the closet if I don't get it finished...I'll be posting something about that when it's done...or as close to done as it's going to get this time.


Three weeks ago Alex took all the stuff we wanted to give to the thrift shot (that I'd been storing in our bedroom) to the thrift shop. OHMYGOODNESS.


I didn't get a picture of the final load, but I think there were two more boxes, one more large bag and a pile of board games.

J and I were out when Alex did this and, disappointingly, when we got home, the masses of stuff in our place didn't look any smaller...but, I was bitten by the giveaway bug and there is plenty more slated for donation or giveaway very very soon!

I linked up to I'm an Organizing Junkie's 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge.

And so a year passes

This time last year we were getting ready for J to start at her new daycare.

She was excited and little and seemed so grown up at the same time.

Friday was her last day at her daycare. Now that's she is three, she gets to moved up to 3-5 daycare from toddler daycare. There will be a little more structure in her routine, a little more consistency in her day, a little more time to be independent and a lot of growing up.

She was both excited and a bit anxious about her last day at her daycare. She loves her teachers and she has a few good buddies, but none of them are moving on with her. One of her best buds is already at the new daycare and has been eagerly awaiting J's arrival. The last few weeks have been tough for J because she was the oldest and the new group of kids is so much younger (the oldest in the new group turned two in July)...we've had a bit of regression, but it's all good. She is so excited about her new daycare and hanging out with her old buddy...

last day of daycare

We loved her toddler daycare - her teachers were amazing and she has a few good little friends. I have met with the new daycare and I feel like it's a good fit (although we'll see how it is after Labour Day) for J...

The no-plan plan

So, this week there isn't really a plan for food at our house. We had a crazy birthday party weekend and then my parents left and took J with them. Which gives me a bit more flexibility than usual when it comes to food...

Monday: Dinner out

Tuesday: Something quick - probably an omelette or sandwich - because I have an appointment right after work and followed immediately by a meeting

Wednesday: Whatever is in the fridge

Thursday: Lasagne or other similar make ahead dish that travels well and feeds lots

Friday: My mom is in charge (I just delegated that now)

Saturday: Wedding-eve bbq

Sunday: Wedding dinner

Next week it's back to school week and daycare transition time...yahoo...which means meals will need to be more carefully planned and the slowcooker will most certainly be making a comeback!

For more menu ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie. (Michelle, I will try the link you posted...I haven't had time yet!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Remembering belatedly

Dear Facebook: And this is why I *HATE* you.

When I lived in London, my Papa Billy came to visit me and took me to meet some of his cousins - Persis, her husband George and Cousin Bob. Persis and George lived on the way from London to Heathrow and became my special British relatives. I visited them as often as I could - probably once a month - and usually spent the night with them. I was the only person who was not a member of the immediate family invited to Persis' 80th birthday. That's right. They were elderly. I often referred to them as my pretend British grandparents.

They lived in a typical British home - a duplex by our standards - with a front and back room and kitchen downstairs and three bedrooms, an airing closet and a bathroom upstairs. I was given the front bedroom when I visited alone (their daughter's bedroom growing up) or the back bedroom (their sons' bedroom) if I came with a friend.

They had a gorgeous back garden - it was a maze of paths and plants with small statues hiding among the greenery, begging to be discovered. Persis would often make me fish sticks because while I didn't eat meat (back then) I definitely ate fish and she wanted to make sure that I could have dinner with them even when she was cooking something like a joint of lamb. I loved going to their place for a day or two of relaxation when life in London became too crazy. Persis called me on the phone regularly just to talk, asking if that was "my Shannon" when I answered and always saying "See you soon, my love" when we said goodbye. Persis was a smoker, but I don't think I ever saw her actually smoke a cigarette. She walked around with a lit one between her fingers almost all day, sometimes with a good inch and a half of ash hanging off the end of the cigarette, leaving a trail of ash in her wake.

George was the quieter of the two, a very intelligent man with lots of interests and interesting things to say. We had many memorable conversations and shared many quiet afternoons just sitting in the back room or on the patio sipping tea, reading or George possibly doing a crossword puzzle, while snooker played on the tv in the background. I remember visiting them with my friend Kristine and she and George had an interesting conversation about the history of Latvia. He was thrilled to have someone to talk to about Latvia and I think Kristine was surprised and happy to meet someone who knew so much about her country.

When my parents came to see me in 2001, they stayed with Persis and George for the first few days of their trip. We used their home as a starting point for a day trip to Windsor and Eton and to do some quiet, local exploring while the jet lag wore off. We went out for dinner at one of Persis' favourite restaurants, an old manor house near their home, and our waiter was called Alan. After that, she called my dad Alan. Even in Christmas cards and letters.

That year, I spent my birthday at their house. They gave me some lovely gifts, some chocolate and even a special, tiny birthday cake.

Whenever I went away, I made sure to send them a postcard - Persis had a wall dedicated to postcards. She also had a gallery of family photos in her front room - last time we were in England, she proudly showed us our wedding picture and some baby pictures of J that she had added to the gallery.

After I left London and came home, I wrote to Persis and George at least once every couple of months. We often received phone calls from her at Easter and at Christmas. I often talk about how wonderful and large my family is and how no one really concerns themselves with whether or not we're first cousins or second cousins three times removed or whatever, we're all just cousins and therefore, we're all just family. It shouldn't really surprise me, but it still does, that Persis and George took that same approach to family. By the time I visited them for a second time, I felt like I belonged. I met their children and grandchildren. I visited (and stayed with) their two grandsons and their daughter-in-law over Easter when I was in Australia. Their son, who was the head of Capel Manor College, invited me to attend the Chelsea Flower Show with a friend and gave us a guided tour. They were all so lovely to me.

Every time I went back to London, I made sure to stop in and visit. On our last visit in 2009, they got to meet J. They were certainly getting older - George had had a stroke some years before and Persis was his caregiver. He was frustrated. His stroke seems to have left him with a perfectly functioning brain, but very little in the way of communication abilities - he had much difficulty with his speech and he couldn't write, but he still read and watched the news and sports. My mom sent them a subscription to Beautiful British Columbia every year for Christmas and he got excited every time one arrived in the mail.

On January 4, 2011, George took his last breaths. Persis followed him on March 30. I don't know more than that today, but I'm sure that Persis died of a broken heart.

I've spent the morning staring out my window, tears running down my face and not really getting anything done...George was 94 and Persis was 89. It is going to be terribly strange not to get off the underground at Hatton Cross and pop in for a cup of tea the next time I go to London. I'm so thankful that my Papa Billy introduced me to Persis and George. I'm so thankful that they had the chance to meet my husband and baby girl.

Persis and George, I'm going to miss you.

Pictures to come when I get home later today.

[And as for why I hate Facebook - that's how I found out...and then I Googled it. And Facebook is not a good way to find out that someone you care for has died.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I need routine...

Specifically, I need to sit down on the weekend and plan our meals for the week (there are other parts to my routine, they're just not bugging me...this week). Because if I don't, Wednesday rolls around and I have no idea what we're going to eat this week. And then we eat boring food. Plus there's a party for a three year old on Saturday and I have no idea what I'm going to serve. Plus I have the dreaded MRI on Saturday, bright and early, and I'm kind of panicking. And I shouldn't be. Because I have three evenings and most of Saturday morning and my parents are coming and it will be fine.

Monday: Quesadillas

Tuesday: Chicken with corn on the cob, dilled potatoes and other vegetables

Wednesday: Quesadillas (yes, again. They are the perfect food for nights when I go out with my trainer...if you have suggestions for some other quick, but relatively healthy dinner I can make for J and then for myself a few hours later, I'd love to hear them...we also do peanut butter and jam a lot on nights like this)

Thursday: Salmon or out

Friday: Pasta

Saturday: Party day...something easy...maybe more pasta? Or maybe out with my parents? Or maybe who knows...

Sunday: Small child is with her grandparents so Alex and I are having date night

Blah...what a boring, repetitive and uninspired week. These are the weeks when I convince myself that I don't actually like to cook. For more variety, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

My love-hate relationship with the book of face

Dear Facebook,

I know I curse you almost daily and I wonder why you change as often as you do, but I should probably take a moment or ten to thank you periodically.

Without you, I wouldn't know who just checked in at the grocery store. Maybe one day I'll work up the nerve to ask that person to bring me a loaf of bread.

Without you, I wouldn't know who just got dumped by whom before the dumpee finds out. Wait, do I really want to know that?

Without you, I wouldn't have the opportunity to see seventy-four almost identical shots of a friend of mine and a friend of theirs, posing in front of something.

Without you, I might forget my sisters' birthdays, my wedding anniversary and my name. If I used my real name.

Without you, the hits on my blog would be slightly higher and my real mail box would be happier more days of the year.

Without you, I would have more hours in my week because that two second log on to see if something was happening that turns into two hours of mindless clicking? Yeah, that wouldn't happen.

But in all fairness, I do have some things to sincerely thank you for.

Without you, I wouldn't have a clue how to track down a few very important people in my life who regularly move and never let their friends or family know (before Facebook, I think they thought we could find them telepathically?)

Without you, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to reconnect with a few very good friends from long ago who I had lost touch with somewhere along the way. It's so good to have them back in my life and even though most of them are far away, it's nice to know they're there...

Without you, I would have gone crazy in my first 18 months as a mommy. But when things went sideways, I could post it on Facebook (and annoy the crap out of half of my friends...sorry) and I'd have eighteen suggestions, reassurances or answers in about six minutes.

Without you, our family reunion would have been over in 24 hours. But it started two months ago and it's still going.

Without you, I'd never hear from some very important people in my life who apparently never learned to dial long distance or to use the post office. I'm okay with that. Because they're awesome at Facebooking.

Without you, I'd have a hard time keeping up with my friends from my days living in other countries. I wrote lots of letters when I lived in the village in the Alps. Because the village had maybe 1500 people and I only spoke English and you can't really ski in the dark. So I wrote lots of letters. But now I have things to do. Other than write letters.

Without you, I'd never get to see my cousin's pictures from the family reunion because he lives in another town or my dear friend's amazing pictures of her trip because she lives in another country or my other friend's beautiful children because they live in far away now.

So, while you annoy me and I threaten to get rid of you, regularly, I really do appreciate you.

Thank you for keeping me connected...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A bike with no pedals?

new bike

J is one happy girl - she got the bike with no pedals she's been requesting for months from Lallie and Bop (her grandparents) last night for her birthday! She's a safety conscious three year old - the second question out of her mouth (after "Can *I* ride it?") was "Where's my helmet?" [She's getting it tomorrow from her other grandparents]

More birthday goodness to come...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Touring the family nursery

J and I have been in Kelowna for almost a week - we came up specifically for a family reunion. Our family business is 100 this year and we had a party to celebrate. My great-grandfather started the business and our family has grown from him and his brother to a five-generation super-family! My great-grandparents are the first generation. They had four kids. Their four kids gave them 20 grandchildren. Those 20 grandchildren produced 44 great-grandchildren (that's my generation) and my generation is just getting started, but there are 13 great-great-grandchildren.

So our little celebration was kind of not so little. There are lots of pictures in this post and I've broken it into two parts...

We started our day of celebration with a tour of the nursery part of the family business. It's the original part and the reason we're celebrating...

Apparently we all passed the first test - we didn't pose any biological threat to the trees so they let us in to play for a few hours.

loaded truck
We started our tour by this truck, loaded and ready to go. It had something like 94 trees that weighed 750lbs each.

whole family
The whole gang, ready to go...

We got to go on a little hayride around the property. This particular trailer is for the over 50 and under 5 crowd (because it has a canopy) but parents and helpers of the under five crowd were invited too. I was happy. It was hot.

Less than 15 minutes after we arrived my kid was already covered in muck. It was super dusty and I'm sure it was sticking to the sun screen. And she's almost three.

mucky kid and mommy

J was thrilled to have a chance to "drive" the tractor. We all know how much she loves machines!

peach pickers
J and P found a peach tree so my Auntie Jenny helped them pick peaches.

peach pickers
Very happy with the fruits of their labour...ugh...I should steer clear of puns. The peaches were so good though. We all had an impromptu snack in the middle of the tour.

the big tree
This tree, creatively named the big tree, is important to the family.

It's where my great-grandfather (founder of the nursery) and my great-grandmother's ashes are scattered.

tree spade
After walking through the life of a tree from seed to plug to big tree (I think this one is six years old) we got to see the tree spade at work.

the view
There is a spectacular view from the nursery, although I miss the old bridge...

My dad, my mom, Kelsey, me (no Rebecca...boo. Alex and J were off somewhere doing something...eating peaches maybe?)

J loved this truck and wanted to be with the trees lots. Behind her you can see the super powerful sprinkler. It pumps water at some huge per second rate...not a sprinkler you'd probably want to play in!

The next generation - my mom and her four sister who are the current owner/operators of the business.

After the tour, everyone went home to wash the dust off before a super fun evening. But that's for another post!

What the doctor said...

I know I said I'd post this yesterday. I planned to do it when I got home last night after a visit with a friend, but I came home to find a toddler who had a cough and wasn't sleeping...

Last Friday morning after I dropped J at daycare, I turned the car around and headed practically home (we live only a few blocks from the hospital) for my scariest appointment yet...the one with the neurologist at the stroke prevention clinic.

Results from that appointment? More of the same...your tests are normal, we're not sure what's going on, let's do more tests. The neurologist was a bit concerned that my blood pressure was up, but let's be realistic here, the nurse took my blood pressure moments after I was given a brochure about TIAs because most likely that's what I had (um, to clarify, not likely). That freaked me out. A lot. I was at the appointment alone because I wasn't too concerned about it...but at that moment I could feel my blood pressure climbing and the tears building and I wished I had someone, anyone, in the room with me. The nurse asked if I was feeling anxious and told me not to worry about my blood pressure because it was probably high because of the anxiety, but the doctor, he was a little concerned. So along with the tests, I will be visiting my family doctor for weekly blood pressure monitoring sessions.

What's next? Well, an early morning MRI which will determine pretty much all the next steps and a visit with a dietitian. For now I just need to keep going with life...and avoid grapefruit.

I think I can handle that!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sharing dinner duty...

Um, I'm a bit late posting this (well, posting anything, really), so I'll start with the one line recap of the doctor's appointment: It was fine and I am fine. More about that tomorrow.

J and I are on holiday with my parents right now, so we're sharing dinner duty - tonight was a group effort with all three of us contributing.

We're pretty much cooking on the BBQ this week and we're sort of playing meals by ear, but here's the meat of it (ha. bad pun. must be bed time!)

Monday: Salmon with veggies and grilled sweet potato

Tuesday: Chicken with a basil, peach and blueberry glaze (YUM! Dad rocks!), potatoes, beans, broccoli, carrots (all the produce from the family garden except the basil which was from my parents garden and the BC blueberries from another part of the province)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: More leftovers

Friday: Birthday burgers and dogs with salad and cake

Saturday: BBQ at my aunt and uncle's

Sunday: Birthday burgers and dogs at Alex's parents' (yes, that's two birthday celebrations for little miss...)

Looking for more ideas (maybe something not BBQ'd???)? Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for a whole bunch of menu ideas!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The waiting game

Really, there are a million things I should be doing right now. Sleeping is at the top of that list and blogging isn't even on the list...but, well, I seem to be blogging, not sleeping.

Tomorrow is my first appointment with the neurologist. Maybe I'll get some answers. Maybe I won't. We'll see.

So instead of sleeping I've been baking. Blueberry banana bread, blueberry muffins and yummy cinnamon swirl bread. It was supposed to be for tomorrow, but I had to sample it, you know?

I also roasted some garlic and when it's a decent hour tomorrow I'll make a quick batch of hummus. We're picnicking tomorrow, so it's picnic food time...


And instead of doing laundry (our laundry baskets threw up all over our room) I unhooked the washer and dryer in anticipation of the arrival of the new machines. I also crammed our dirty laundry into black garbage bags so that I can do some serious laundry over the weekend. It's been two weeks since I've done laundry and I'm starting to notice it...

blueberry muffins

Anyway, it thought I'd share a few things that I've learned over the past few weeks. I don't have any answers yet, but I've learned a few things for sure!

blueberry banana loaf

Stuff I've learned about me:
  • When I'm feeling stress (which I apparently am tonight) I head to the kitchen. Like I did tonight. Who bakes that much on a warmish summer night? When there are a million other things to do? When they should be resting up for the big appointment the next day? Me apparently.
  • That I might have to take medication for the rest of my life. And if I do, I'm never going to taste a grapefruit again. Guess what I've been craving for the last two weeks...
Stuff I've learning about my "condition" (I'm not sure what to call it - it's not an illness or a disease or an injury, so I'm going with condition):
  • My family doctor is very optimistic everything will be pretty well normal.
  • My doctor warned me to be prepared for the possibility that they won't have any answers for me for a while or possibly ever. And that is such a frustrating possibility for me. I'd like to know how to prevent further episodes of the "condition"
  • That regardless of the test results, I'm still probably going to have to take daily medication forever (see above) and that isn't making me very happy right now...
Stuff I've learned about my community:
  • It's a lot bigger than I thought it was. This shouldn't really surprised me since they same thing happened when I injured my back - thanks guys....your visits, phone calls, emails, texts, blog comments and Facebook notes have all made the past two weeks so much more bearable.
Stuff I've learned about J:
  • Toddlers are infinity more adaptable than I ever gave little miss credit for. She spent every evening last week sitting quietly on my bed playing or reading so that I could rest. Occasionally she'd pause and rub my temple and tell me "It will be okay Mommy." That alone is enough to make me feel better. She enjoyed this week and its usual trips to the park after dinner a lot more than last week!
Stuff I've learned about the hospital:
  • It's unnerving to be the youngest patient at the heart clinic by a good twenty years. And that woman, the one who was about 20 years older than me? She appeared to be accompanying her mother to the clinic.
  • The hospital is huge. It's very important to know which building and floor you're going to or you'll get hopelessly lost.
  • Some areas of the hospital smell better than others.
  • The hospital I've been frequenting is a teaching hospital. That means telling the same story two or three times before actually seeing the doctor. Or having the same ultrasound two or three times. But it's all good. At this point I'm still rational and patient enough to realize this is how doctors are made...
  • Parking at the hospital coasts a small fortune. The best place to park is on the lowest or second lowest level. Because no one wants to park so "far" away. So there are lots of spaces - and lots that don't have concrete posts next to them.
  • Always carry a book. And a binder. The book is because you'll always have to do some waiting. Even when your appointment is on time. The binder is for all the information you need to tell each and every doctor, specialist, technician and nurse you see and to add the new information to when they give it to you. Because you will forget. Before you stand up from your chair and leave the room. I promise.

Stuff I've learned about my job:
  • It's important to know your company policies for sick leave and doctors' appointments (if there is one).
  • It's important to figure out if your best bet is sick leave, sick days, appointment leave or vacation. I've done a combination of sick days, vacation and appointment leave but somewhere else I might have done it differently.
  • I highly recommend talking to your supervisor, their supervisor and your HR rep (if you have one) as soon as possible, giving them as many details as you possibly can (if you're comfortable sharing). They will be more willing to help you out if they know what's going on.
  • If you don't know your rights surrounding sick leave, find out. Quick. I know my rights having done this twice before and I happen to have an employer with good policies, so I'm not worried...I have also done this before with the same company, so the process was a lot easier this time around. And I'm not on sick leave right now so that helps.
  • It's just a job. That I like. And want to keep. But there are things that are more important in my life than my job. I didn't actually learn that this week, it was just reinforced in the most forceful way possible!
Now I'm off to bed so I can rock my appointment tomorrow and try to convince the doctors I don't need that daily medication....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We need to eat

And I did do our planning on Sunday and Monday, I just didn't get it uploaded...because I'm slow. And preoccupied. And stuff.

Monday: Cashew Chicken with added celery and broccoli

Tuesday: Pancakes for dinner

Wednesday: Salmon and new potatoes

Thursday: Quesadillas

Friday: Travel food, or if we're incredibly lucky, dinner at my parents'

Saturday: Hugemungous family celebration dinner

Sunday: Steak or burgers...

More ideas from people who posted promptly at I'm an Organizing Junkie....

Monday, August 08, 2011

Love Letter to London

Dear London,

You were my home for almost two years. I loved taking my A-Z and getting off the tube and just wandering aimlessly. I loved the London atmosphere. I loved the safe feeling I had, pretty much everywhere I went. I loved that the three times I've been back to visit since I moved home ten years ago, I felt at home the moment I stepped out of the underground and onto the cobbles.

I have some good friends in London still. I heard from one on Sunday and she expressed sorrow over the riots on Saturday night. Little did either of us expect that today would mark the third day of rioting...dear London, can you please keep my friends safe. And the other 7,820,293 people who live in London who are not rioting. And the police officers and paramedics and fire fighters and other emergency personnel. And maybe in all your London-ness you can convince the rioters to stop. Vancouver had its own riot in June. Its origins were suspect, but it only lasted one frightening, disgusting evening.

So dear London, I hope for you and your inhabitants that tonight is the last night of this disruptive, horrifying unrest. I hope that you keep those people safe, that they again feel the same security on your street I felt ten years ago. I will be back to visit you and perpetuate my crush on you in the (hopefully) near future...so stay safe and rioters, go home...please. Just go home.


Sunday, August 07, 2011


So, J knows what thunder is, but fireworks? They're a bit confusing. She's been switching between calling them fireworks and calling them frunder. Last Saturday night, after all the chaos and craziness, she woke up screaming when they started. I had been in bed since 8:30 and I was confused too. We had all forgotten about the Celebration of Light. Ooops. I got into bed with J and we both went back to sleep...

On Wednesday we had talked about frunder for four days. I didn't tell her there were going to be fireworks because I was hoping by 10:00 on Wednesday, she'd be asleep. Which she probably would have been, except, oh, they started firing test/warning fireworks at 9:15...so she refused to settle. When they started, I took her into our room, where, if you really crane your neck, you can see the tops of the really high ones just over the roof of the building across the street.

She loved them. She wasn't scared of them anymore. She kept saying oooooooooooh and clapping her hands. And she went to sleep as soon as it was over.

So, last night, knowing that she wasn't going to sleep, we just decided to take her to see them. Off we went to Granville Island at 9:30 with a huge kid in a stroller in her pjs. We were hoping she'd fall asleep on the way home...yeah right. But it was a fun night and she slept in until 10:00 this morning. Lucky me!

fireworks watcher

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

fireworks 2011

Sleeping in was lovely...but I'm not sure what it's going to mean for nap time or bedtime tonight!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

So that's what it feels like...

Something happened to my head in the last twenty minutes or so. The leftover bits of my headache? They seem to be gone...I'd forgotten what a normal head felt like! I don't think I've taken any painkillers since Friday or Saturday, mostly because it was more of a niggling pain that was annoying than a pain that stopping me from doing stuff.

Except that now I realize it was stopping me. Yesterday I was sooooo looking forward to my yoga class, but I didn't go. Because my head was a bit sore. And it felt like my brain was rattling around in my skull and I figured that headache+downward dog=bigger headache. And let's just not go there. I probably would have been fine, but if the headache had grown, well, I might just swear off exercise. Which is a bad plan. I need to keep exercising, regardless of what's been happening with my head, it's just a matter of figuring out what works - maybe it's less intense exercise, maybe it's a different kind of exercise, maybe it's a different time of day...but that little, niggling headache was holding me back from even trying to do yoga.

And then, all of a sudden this morning, I was sitting at my desk and I realized, hey, the niggling is gone.

Small victory? Maybe. But these days I'm celebrating any and every victory, I don't care how small!

Maybe tonight I'll try a little yoga at home, just to see how it goes....

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

And then there is this

Let's start with a disclaimer. I am fine. I will be fine. Things are a bit upside down right now, but I'm fine.

Last Monday I freaked myself, and everyone around me, out by taking a little ride to the hospital in an ambulance after suffering what the doctors referred to as a thunderclap headache while exercising. If you click on that link and visit Wikipedia there is some scary stuff there. So, I did NOT have a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Just to clarify.

The doctor immediately hooked me up to an IV, started some drugs to help with the headache, and ordered some blood work and a CT scan. I've never had a CT scan that fast in my life, even when my back did its thing.

The CT scan was normal. So the next step was a lumbar puncture. Don't click on that link if you don't like needles. There are some very vivid descriptions and images.

The lumbar puncture was normal. The blood work? Yup, you guessed it. Normal.

That's when, six hours after arriving, I was sent home, given some painkillers, told that I might want to stay home the next day because one of the side effects of the lumbar puncture was a rebound headache, but that I could go right back to my normal life, exercise and all. At that point I asked when I should follow up with my family doctor. Apparently since everything was normal, I didn't have to. Ummm...this headache? NOT normal. I didn't worry too much about it, I just wanted to get home, profusely thank my sister and get into my own bed. Besides, I had to go in to see my doctor this week anyway, so I'd bring it up then.

Tuesday I was groggy. Alex was home because of his craptastic hours, so we took J to daycare and I spent a toddler-free day on the couch and Alex tried to catch up on some sleep. Wednesday I was back at work. Not particularly productive, but back at work. Thursday I went out with my trainer again. I wasn't feeling entirely myself so we decided to go a bit more gentle and less strenuous. We did a 10 minute warm up walk and then 3 [very slow] step-ups into the first side of the first set of step-ups, it happened again.

And the ambulance came to the seawall again.

And I went to the Emergency Room again.

And ugh.

Once again I was hooked up to an IV. A well meaning nurse suggested I might want to eat before I work out (I had) and keep myself hydrated (I was). Eventually I was given some more headache drugs and a second CT was ordered. This time I had a contrast CT done.

Lots of nothing happened for a long time. The people by my bed changed a few times. My mom arrived and made a big long list of questions for me to ask the doctor. My amazing sister picked J up from daycare. My mom headed over to our place to look after J so my sister could go to work. Alex and I twiddled our thumbs. A lot.

Before my mom left, we sent Alex off to eat something because we had no idea how long we'd be in the hospital. After talking to the doctor, who was very vague, we overheard her talking at the nurses station. I heard words I recognized because I had looked up subarachnoid hemorrhage. Scary words.

Then a neurologist came and did a full neurology exam. I remembered which was left and which was right (yay me!), I touched my finger to my nose a million times, I correctly identified that we were in the hospital and it was likely close to four o'clock in the afternoon.

And then I was visited by a team of neurologists. I think there were four of them.

Basically one of my CT scans showed a spot that concerned them. Likely an old bleed. Likely an old stroke. They don't know how old. My blood work and lumbar puncture weren't 100% okay, but high enough not to worry. Except for this spot. Because of the spot the not quite 100% normal was not normal enough. Only 100 would do in that. Oh, and my blood pressure is elevated. And it shouldn't be because I'm not old enough.


After nine hours in the Emergency Room, I was assigned to the stroke team at the hospital and will be attending the stroke prevention clinic. I don't really know what that means. I've been put on high blood pressure medication. Possibly for the rest of my life. Possibly not. It depends on what's causing it. I've been in for a bunch of outpatient tests and have more coming up. They don't know how old the [possible] stroke is. That's why there's more tests. They don't know why it happened. They don't know why I've had two of these headaches. I can safely return to my "old" life and continue to do any and all activities I was doing before. I can even conceive a baby (why they would think this was a smart idea is beyond me...). Don't worry. I'm not going to. That's insanity. Oh, and I was to take three or four days off from exercising but I can safely go back to that now and I can continue to train with my trainer.

What we do know:

  • *if* it was a stroke, it was a while ago
  • *if* I had a stroke, no one, including me, was aware that I had one
  • two weeks of tests is a lot
  • I was fine up until a week ago. There is no reason why I'm not still fine (except for the weird headache thing)
  • I know Alex's cell and work numbers, both my sisters' numbers, my aunt and uncle's number and Fiona's number off by heart. Just in case.
  • there are a lot of ifs and unknowns

And because you probably have some questions, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions people have had for me...so far. (feel free to ask away in the comments)

Are you scared?
For sure. But I'm only scared because I have no idea what's going on. I'm not scared that something horrible is going to happen in the next little while [I might be scared that my life insurance premiums are going to be disgusting after this though]

How do you feel?
I feel drained and tired. My body has been through a lot with the headaches and the headache drugs. I'm getting myself to bed earlier and that's helping.

Why did this happen to someone as young as you?
No idea.

How are J and Alex?
They're good. J is a bit confused and knows something is up. We've told her Mommy is a little bit sick but getting better. She isn't so sure about all the doctors visits. We've kept her routine as close to normal as possible. Alex is good too...he's had a few moments where his imagination has gotten ahead of reality and that was scary for him, but he's good.

What are you going to do now?
Live life. Until Monday there was nothing wrong with me. My body is in a bit of shock from the two headaches and I think there's a bit of shell shock there too, but apart from that, there's nothing more wrong with me today than there was eight days ago. So I'm making a concentrated effort to stay hydrated, have at least one cup of coffee (doctor recommended so I don't go into caffeine withdrawal), eat well and rest. I'm going to work. I'm driving. I'm keeping up with my other plans.

I have had about half the tests they've ordered and I'm hoping they'll schedule the last ones for this week so I can go away with J as planned on the weekend. But if not, we'll reschedule our trip. I see my family doctor, who happens to have an interest in hypertension and cardiovascular health, on Thursday, so I might have some more answers by then.

Right now I feel like I belong in an episode of House. If Gregory House was my doctor, I might possibly have some answers (although, his team might have tried to kill me first, so maybe I'm okay with him being imaginary).

But really, I'm okay!

Monday, August 01, 2011

The weekly dilemma: what to eat...

So last week's menu went out the window almost as soon as I posted it...

I'm not sure what we ate. Wednesday we did go out with my mom. Last night we picked up sushi...the rest of the week? That's anybody's guess.

Maybe this week will be better...

Monday: Frittata

Tuesday: Broccoli Calzones with homemade tomato sauce

Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken (maybe?)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Salmon and rice

Saturday: Dinner chez parents

Sunday: More dinner chez parents

For more ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.